REVIEW OF RUTH HAERTL’S MICHAELMAS 2000 ARTICLE:
Painting: Birth of a Child by Helen Chamberlain, helenchamberlainart.com
THE FORMATION OF A NEW ETHERIC HEART ORGAN
“…the spiritual impulses of the past are exhausted…gradually dying away, and it cannot sow any seeds for human development in the future. If nothing but the old impulses were to operate, the only future would be one in which technology would not only dominate the whole of our external life but would overpower and paralyze us, driving out from the human soul anything of a religious, scientific, philosophical and artistic, and even of an ethical nature in the higher sense. Without fresh spiritual impulses, humans will turn into something like living automatons…we must feel that we are the ones led by karma to some knowledge of the fact that humanity needs new spiritual impulses.” -Rudolf Steiner (Address to the Russian participants in the lecture course: The Spiritual Beings in the heavenly bodies and in the kingdoms of nature. Helsinki, April 11, 1912)
“This makes it necessary for man to cultivate experience of spiritual insight in which he is elevated as far above nature as he sinks below it when he occupies himself with the sub-natural realm of technology. To do this enables him to create sufficient strength to keep from being submerged.” -Rudolf Steiner, The Michael Mystery, from nature to sub-nature, April 12, 1925
From whence the fresh spiritual impulses? How do we develop spiritual insights that can elevate us above sub-nature as far as we occupy ourselves with sub-nature?
Ruth Haertl essay on the evolution of The Formation of a New Etheric Heart Organ portrays the “stupendous” possibilities for the etheric heart, the third etheric heart that is now in formation. The evolving of the heart begins with the original inception of the first etheric heart in the 1st seven years, its reconfiguration into a second etheric heart during the years of puberty, to the emergence of the third etheric heart through the cosmic activity of the Logos and the intentional activity of the human being. In the first provisional, inherited etheric heart, the human being draws into itself a “kind of image from the cosmos” which fades as we approach our seventh year when a second etheric heart is born. The new heart is condensed from the entire world sphere as a reflection of the stars, sun and moon. Weaving in and out of this second heart are forces of the astral body wherein are inscribed all deeds, all moral imaginations, human intentions and ideas – all that man has experienced in the spiritual world between death and rebirth. The Ego sympathetically connects with our astral body. Thus, there is a “complete adjustment of individual Karma with universal cosmic laws.” Man is born out of the deepest cosmic wisdom, the Logos.
Thus far, we have a description of how the past, the given, is created and inscribed into our physical/etheric body. Now a further miracle of creation follows in which humanity becomes co-creator, with the Logos, of the third etheric heart. “The quality of becoming depends on the purposeful striving and strongest unfolding of the forces of will in each human being…the perfection of this new creation depends on a strictly self-directed goal orientation, as well as the most strongly activated unfolding of will forces.” A “physiology of freedom”.
In freedom we are called upon to “work on the structural configuration of our own etheric heart; the new heart which began a process of separation from the physical heart in 1721…. which according to Steiner, in the year 2100 this process is destined to slowly reach a conclusion.” As a counterweight to what has been given from the past, human beings are called upon to connect the separated etheric heart to the spiritual world through a transformed thinking and feeling life. The third etheric heart may become an inner cognitive eye, a sensing-heart-eye organ for future karma.
Haertl continues to develop an understanding of the qualities of the etheric heart. We are tasked to strengthen our activity of thinking and, in doing so, we help the ego overcome that which hinders its rightful unfolding. In doing so, we may develop an eye for self-cognition, an Ego-sense for the other, eye of cognition for spiritual beings and an ability to perceive the karma of others. And much more. We may also experience heart problems traced to lack of spiritual activity.
“We harbor in our ether heart a creatively active inner sun that radiates warmth and light into the surrounding, into the far reaches of the cosmos.” Through the development of the third etheric heart we find new spiritual impulses for a new creation. Herein, the human being rises far above sub-nature, indeed, into participating in the creation of a new Sun-Earth.
Cheryl Martine has taught Social Foundations of Education and Anthropology at N.C. State University, Meredith College, University of Maine and supervises student teachers with Sacramento State University. She has been a long-time student of Anthroposophy and has participated in several courses and conferences with MysTech.